Global Greater Boston: Immigrants in a Changing Region

February 14, 2024

Boston –The Asian Business Empowerment Council and the Asian Community Fund at the Boston Foundation today released a new brief compiling data on Asian businesses and entrepreneurs in Massachusetts and offering opportunities to accelerate their potential growth.  The brief, Understanding the Asian Business Landscape in the Commonwealth: A Snapshot of Resilience and Impact, captures the resilience and resourcefulness of Asian entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth and highlights the significant contributions of Asian-owned businesses to the state's economy. It was compiled with the partnership of Boston Indicators and the Institute for Asian American Studies at UMass Boston.

“The data compiled in this brief show the strength of Asian and Pacific Islander communities as a growth engine for the Massachusetts economy, as well as a number of areas where improving or targeting resources could help small businesses stabilize and grow after the COVID pandemic,” said Q.J. Shi, Director of the Asian Business Empowerment Council, which is being incubated by the Asian Community Fund at the Boston Foundation.

The snapshot, the first part of a research effort that will capture and analyze the AAPI business community over the coming year, finds that the number of Asian-owned firms grew at six times the rate of all Massachusetts firms between 2002 and 2017, in a wide range of sectors from health care and technology to restaurants and laundry service.

But the growth and success of Asian businesses were blunted during the pandemic, with AAPI entrepreneurs most likely to say their revenue had not returned to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, and most likely to say they had not received business assistance or built other connections with community businesses or institutions such as nonprofits, foundations or local government.

The brief recommends a number of possible avenues for empowering AAPI entrepreneurs, from expanding access to capital and multilingual business supports, to continued expansion of efforts to collect data specifically on AAPI populations and businesses to better capture nuances both for the AAPI community as a whole and the multiple subgroups within the “Asian” cateogory, each of which has distinct cultural and social histories, needs and opportunities

The brief is available for download now at ABEC’s home page – https://www.tbf.org/abec.